Rick Stroud of the St. Petersburg Times reported today on ESPN2's First Take that Lions defensive tackle Shaun Rogers will be traded or released this offseason. This news isn't surprising at all considering Rogers' weight has always been an issue, and he really isn't a "Rod Marinelli type of guy." Still, there is no arguing Rogers' talent when he is playing well. During the first half of the season, Rogers was playing amazing and was a big reason why the Lions started 6-2. In the final eight games, though, Rogers was really non-existent, and that was a big reason why Detroit finished the year losing 7 of their final 8 games.
The Lions are denying that any decision has been made in regards to Rogers' future, and Tom Kowalski also is reporting that a source close to the team is saying the same thing. Even though nothing is official and no decisions reportedly have been made, let's consider that Rogers is not going to be back next season for the Lions.
The options Detroit has really aren't that great to tell you the truth. As much as Rod Marinelli wants a certain type of player that really is the opposite of Rogers when it comes to work ethic and weight, one might say, you cannot just get rid of him for nothing in return. One of the possible ways to ship him out of Detroit is via a trade, but that is easier said than done. Although he is a Pro Bowl caliber player at times, Rogers has little trade value and probably wouldn't get the Lions anything better than a fourth-round pick. I could see maybe a third-rounder, but that might even be a stretch.
If the Lions absolutely don't want Rogers back and can't find a trading partner, then the other option is to simply release him. I would try to at least get a draft pick, regardless of what round it comes from, before considering this option. But if the Lions decide to give him training camp as his last chance to prove he is willing to work on getting his weight down, then trading won't be an option. That would certainly be a gamble considering he would just be cut if things still didn't work out, but I'd like to see Rogers come back.
Mainly, Rogers is too good of a talent to get rid of for nothing in return. I know he is very bad when things aren't going in his favor, but at the same time, he is great when he is playing well. If I were the Lions I would certainly explore all possible options before making any decisions, and I imagine that we won't find out anything until the draft for that reason. It is most likely that a trade would happen during or around the time of the draft, so I'm guessing nothing really happens until then.
One final thing to add to this question of whether or not Shaun Rogers should return is the issue of needs. The Lions defense needs a defensive end, a middle linebacker, and cornerbacks, so creating another need by getting rid of Rogers is something to take into heavy consideration. If this was a year from now and Detroit only needed a middle linebacker, then I wouldn't be as worried about getting rid of him because you still would only need a middle linebacker and a defensive tackle. Unfortunately, that isn't even remotely close to the Lions' situation, so if a starter is released or traded, it just creates yet another need that Detroit would have to address in free agency or the draft.